Having a well known brand can be a wonderful thing—you have a base of customers who know and trust your offerings. However, marketers often ignore this brand loyal segment, and chase after new customers instead. While developing new business is a necessity, marketers shouldn’t let existing customers get left behind.
Why you should care
The average consumer is fed thousands of messages each day. These advertisements flood their senses when they watch TV, listen to music, read magazines—and yes—search online. Because of this media deluge, even the most well known brand can get lost in the shuffle. As a result, once-loyal customers can easily move on to the competition. To mitigate the chances of them straying, marketers need to invest in regularly connecting with those already familiar with their brand.
For example, years ago I booked a vacation on a travel website that a friend had told me about. While I had a positive and successful experience—and it came to me via a personal recommendation—the company didn’t do much advertising. In fact, the site made no effort to keep their brand “top of mind” with me. When it came time for me to book my next vacation, there were many other websites competing for my attention whenever I performed a related search. As a result, I ended up booking my next trip with a new provider who offered me the same product, but made sure that I remembered who they were.
Targeting your brand loyalists
Here are three tactics to help you better connect with your existing customers.
Geotargeting is one of the easiest ways to hone in on a loyal segment of your customer base. It allows you to find a region where your most brand loyal population base resides so you can more aggressively target them. The three major search engines all allow you to easily geotarget your campaigns on many levels, including state, town or point on a map. In addition, your analytics program can also help you track information about your customer segments so you can learn where they reside. Simple analysis of this data can quickly and easily help you identify areas that are the most profitable and where you have a strong presence of brand loyalists. Once you have location information, set up separate campaigns to create a stronger voice in your target communities. Since this may end up costing a larger share of budget, additional campaigns can be set up to have a smaller share of budget in regions that have lower conversion rates.
Demographic targeting is similar to geotargeting in that it can help you focus on your customers more closely. However, while geotargeting reaches out to a community of people in the same vicinity, demographic targeting helps you find your customers no matter where they are. So how does it work? Let’s say that your market research indicated that your target market is men 55 and older. As such, you could set up campaigns in Bing to serve ads to those users who match that demographic. For Google, you could set up a content campaign with ads that speak to that target demographic, and ensure that those ads are being properly served to the websites that your target market is visiting. As you consider using demographic targeting, keep in mind that the search engines have not developed it to the same degree as they have geotargeting. In fact, Bing is the only engine that currently offers full demographic targeting for search campaigns (it allows you to target based on age and gender). Google currently only offers demographic targeting for content campaigns.
Social media is a great channel to reach out to those already familiar with your brand. Websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn foster engagement with your audience, which goes a long way toward helping your brand stay top of mind. However, before employing any social media tactics first think about your goals. If you want to build more loyalty with those already familiar with your brand, decide how you’re going to do that. For example, are you going to reach out to everyone that you have an email address for?
Furthermore, once you start acquiring fans or followers, what is your communication strategy going to be? The best social media strategies involve a high level of communication between a company and their customers. Social media can be used to publicize the latest promotions or press releases, strike-up a conversation, or listen to your customers. Regardless of the form that your social media approach takes, be sure to know the strategies and goals of the campaign ahead of time, so that your customers remain engaged and loyal.
In these challenging economic times it’s important to stay connected with your brand-loyal customers. Smart marketers will remember to regularly connect with them, or risk losing them to the competition.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.